The recent European Parliament elections have resulted in a significant surge in the number of right-wing and far-right Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). While this outcome may alarm many, it does not surprise us, a network of social NGOs dedicated to providing social and health services and combating poverty across Europe. For many, the election results reflect a disconnect between policy and people, discontent with the current policy direction in general, and EU wide social challenges such as the state of public services, unemployment and low wages, inadequacy of social protection systems, the need for more effective integration approaches, decreasing support for social service providers, and rising extreme poverty including homelessness. We also deplore that the rhetoric of some of those elected goes against principles of inclusion, equality and social justice.  

Eurodiaconia wants to recognize and underline the importance of the democratic process that allows us to vote and shape our future. The European Parliament elections are unique in the world, bringing together 27 Member States representatives in one parliament, a testament to the power of democracy and the voice of the people. This process should be acknowledged with thankfulness and underscores a collective responsibility to participate and work towards a better Europe. 

With hope and faith, we are reminded of the Bible’s call to pray for “kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). This serves as a powerful reminder to pray for our leaders and have faith in God’s ability to guide them to work with wisdom and for peace. 

Too often, political leaders at national and European levels, have made promises that resonate with our hopes and aspirations but have failed to deliver coherent policies that translate these promises into reality. The social fabric of our communities is fraying as public services unravel and support systems deteriorate. This election underscores a growing desire for a change in direction, a demand for policies that genuinely prioritize the needs of citizens across Europe. 

We recognize the urgency of this message. It is a clear call for the EU to adopt a more coherent and effective approach to social policy. The next steps are crucial. As the new European Commission is formed, we anticipate a vigorous debate on the direction of EU policies and are ready to contribute.  

Eurodiaconia works to bring firsthand experience of the challenges faced by the most vulnerable in our society. Our members witness daily the consequences of policy failures and delays – such as growing poverty, increased homelessness, and the erosion of essential social services. We are ready to engage constructively with the new European Parliament and Commission to advocate for robust, inclusive policies that address these issues head-on. 

The path forward requires a commitment to coherence in EU policies. It demands that the EU not only listen to the concerns but also act decisively to implement policies that work for social justice. We, at Eurodiaconia, stand ready to work with the new European Parliament and Commission to build a more equitable and supportive Europe for all. The election results must be seen as a wake-up call to respond to with a renewed focus on social justice.